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Proceedings of the Nordic Consumer Policy Research Conference Could the by ramhood17

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									Proceedings of the Nordic Consumer Policy Research Conference 2007

Could the Household Budget Survey serve as a yardstick of sustainable consumption?
Juha Nurmela Social Statistics, Income and Living Conditions Statistics Finland Helsinki, Finland juha.nurmela@stat.fi Abstract This article describes the possibilities the recently finalised Household Budget Survey 2006 offers for analysing the consumption of Finnish residents from the viewpoint of sustainable development and eco-efficiency. The main focus is on the recycling of waste. The use of flea markets, the effect of the energy label on purchase decisions and motoring are also described. As goods and commodities ”flow” through households’ purchasing, using and discarding processes, an insightful analysis requires different frameworks and concepts according to which part of the process is being examined. These concepts are introduced briefly. Empirical results describe Finnish households’ recycling of waste as well as certain other information on consumption. This information is used to assess the Household Budget Survey’s potential of contributing to the permanent monitoring of sustainable consumption. 1. Steps towards sustainable consumption statistics Sustainable consumption and statistics have a link to eco-efficiency which aims at making more out of less in a way that at least maintains the current level of well-being while simultaneously decreasing the amount of environmental hazards. We might call this the dematerialisation of the economy. The initial target is set at efficiency factor 4 and the longterm target is set at factor 10. The assessment of eco-efficiency requires many kinds of indicators, consumption included. (Hoffrén 2007, Takase et al. 2005) Monitoring sustainable consumption is not yet a part of consumption statistics. The topic surfaced concretely in discussions in 2005 when the Finland’s national programme to promote sustainable consumption and production (KULTU Committee “Getting more and better from less”) was finalised. Statistics Finland made the following statement on it: "Statistics Finland considers it important that (a) the starting levels of natural resources or consumption are established, (b) the potential for more efficiency, which serves as a roadmap for measures, is located and (c) the effects of the measures are monitored in a systematic manner in different fields. At Statistics Finland the contents of the KULTU programme are linked to consumption statistics and the related social statistics as well as environment and energy statistics. For many of the measures it would seem reasonable to try and locate the target groups whose activities have the highest potential for increasing efficiency and rationalisation. Statistics Finland has long time series on consumption, leisure time and time use at its disposal. They can be used to examine the effects of structural factors and changes in consumption or behaviour. Large scale surveys offer good opportunities for clarifying how Finnish residents behave in reality and what their attitudes are like” (Statistics Finland 2005). Household Budget Survey data have been utilised e.g. in the household energy consumption studies in the 1980s and 1990s (Nurmela 1996 and Melasniemi-Uutela 2000). Household
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Budget Survey data from 2001 have been used in the ”Kulmakunta” project (Perrels et al. 2006). Jukka Hoffrén has studied eco-efficiency on the basis of other Statistics Finland data (Hoffrén 2001). So far, however, the viewpoint of sustainable consumption has not been present as a point of interest on its own right in the definition of the data contents of consumption statistics. A first step in that direction are questions on e.g. recycling, the effect of the energy label and the number of kilometres driven with a car annually in the data collection of the Household Budget Survey 2006. Their usability is tested in the empirical module. 2. Frameworks for examining consumption and recycling Consumption can be examined from various viewpoints, as is shown by this publication. This article looks at the household as a single consumption unit. It forms a small community which decides, often amid conflicting interests, on e.g. what commodities are purchased and how and what is recycled. From the viewpoint of sustainable development and ecological footprints, the purchasing of commodities and their use are parts of a long process (See e.g. Schmidt-Bleek 2000). The compilation of statistics on sustainable development is a new area which still lacks an established form. Various viewpoints are on offer. Sustainable development can be analysed at different stages of the consumption process which include the preparation of the consumption decision, the actual purchase, the use or consumption, and finally the recycling or disposing of the used goods. Below some concepts and frameworks are presented which are useful for the examination of consumption and recycling especially if the question is on how to bring about change. They could be a suitable tool for interpreting the data of the Household Budget Survey when examining sustainable consumption. 2.1 Everyday small-scale environment policy and structure of society According to Massa and Ahonen, consumers’ purchases and actions can be seen as “belonging to everyday environment policy, where the focus is on the examination of ways of life. When examining ways of life from the environmental viewpoint, interesting topics include the ecological burden caused by consumption and way of life (the “ecological footprint”) as well as the cultural interpretations of the way of life which we call environmental stories. Different structures create the setting for individuals’ behaviour and mould the everyday way of life”. Massa and Ahonen’s view is that practical environmental policy needs to be supplemented by everyday (small-scale) environment policy which takes into account the viewpoints of the experiences and silent knowledge of regular people, their way of life and cultural change. They regard them as prerequisites of a culture which is more sustainable than our current one. (Massa ja Ahonen 2006, pp.6-9) Eräranta and Moisander offer the following analysis of the rhetoric on consumers and sustainable development ”[…] the logic which emphasises individual responsibility characterises also more generally the environmental policy rhetoric aimed at consumers as well as stereotypical views of a green consumer. The consumer’s role in striving for sustainable development is first and foremost to make the correct moral choices […] Promises are often made that the supply at stores will change when the group of environmentally aware consumers becomes sufficiently big."
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(Eräranta and Moisander 2006, p. 26) They doubt, however, that the consumers' readiness and possibilities of influencing are easily overestimated and ask whether consumers can continue to believe that their choices are making a difference if other knowledge gives out conflicting signals? Is green consumerism possible in the prevailing structure of society? (Eräranta and Moisander 2006, s. 28). As regards the sorting of waste and recycling of goods, this viewpoint which takes into account the structure of society and the infrastructure is essentials. The point is the organisation of waste collection, as sorting done by households is only the first stage in a chain of events which aims at delivering sorted waste to the correct places. In the sorting of waste the consumer really is king with sovereign power to decide on whether to sort or not. 2.2 The concept of guilt - a tool for understanding the transition towards sustainable consumption? According to Massa, people can grow tired and bored with the education on sustainable consumption because it forgets about structures and culture. Massa states that sociological and psychological concepts like guilt and shame are needed to understand and deal with the discrepancies. They could offer viewpoints with which e.g. the deliberation concerning the sorting of waste, the choices and the actions of households could be understood. Massa summarises the thoughts of psychologists June Price Tagney and Ronda L. Dearing on the links of feelings of shame and guilt with behaviour in the following way: ”The feeling of shame stems from the negative evaluations an individual makes of his/her own person and behaviour. An individual suffering from shame is unable to defuse negative feelings by changing his/her behaviour. Instead, if he/she is in an emotional trap built by shame, he/she may convert the feeling into anger and bitterness directed at others. It is hard to become liberated from the feeling, since it is difficult to change oneself. Guilt, then again, is a constructive feeling which seems to guide people towards morally and socially responsible behaviour and can turn into empathy with other people (italics by Nurmela). The feeling of guilt often arises in situations when an individual feels he/she has done something against the norms of his/her culture or community. The feeling of guilt is linked with an individual’s behaviour and not him/herself, which is why a change in behaviour can liberate the individual from guilt.” (Massa 2006, p. 120). The interpretation of guilt as a feeling guiding towards a change of behaviour put forward by the researches cited by Massa may be a useful tool. From that viewpoint the method of realising separate collection of waste from consumers or households may be significant in changing the feeling of guilt into positive action, i.e. sorting and recycling. The ease and credibility of the recycling system at any rate influence the changing of everyday routines. Finland’s good Geographical Information System could facilitate the combining of the data from the collection system and the Household Budget Survey. This would enable an indirect examination of whether easy liberation from feelings of guilt has a link to the realised sorting and separate collection. 2.3 The role of goods in households ”The material nature of consumer goods is especially evident when they are not used and when they are in the way because they do not fit together with other goods in the context of use. It can also be stated more generally that the coveting for newness characteristic of the consumption culture cannot be understood if its connection with the changing use relationships of goods all the way until recycling or disposal is seen.” (Lehtonen 2006, p. 314)
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What is normal? ”According to the British consumption sociologist Elizabeth Shove, our consumption is guided to a significant degree by our understanding of cleanliness, comfort and pleasantness. The environmental burden caused by the way of life is influenced e.g. by how quickly clothes end up in the wash, how many pairs of sports shoes are needed for different sports or how often we move into a bigger dwelling or redecorate our current one. Consumption is also regulated by the understanding of what kind of consumption is generally acceptable. Shove proposes that in stead of looking at choices, the Household Budget Survey should examine the limits of what is normal. In this way we could find out what kind of freedom of movement and what kinds of barriers exist for green consumption in the society.” (Ahonen 2006, p. 79–80) Statistical time series are good indicators of normality. This viewpoint of normality is essential when looking at the sorting of waste. In a sense it is self-service comparable to online banking. Online banking has become a norm which provides both monetary gain and ease of managing ones’ finances. The sorting and recycling of waste also provide gain, albeit indirectly, both as low waste handling fees and over the long term as environmental benefits to all. Still, sorting and recycling do not entail the element of ease, so the behavioural norm promoting recycling probably consists to a significant degree of unselfish motives. What is waste? Lehtonen states that ”goods are not only purchased and lived with but they are also cast away and destroyed - out of habit, nearly without noticing and in bulk. How do we determine what is waste and what is not?” Waste is defined as waste via many overlapping systems such as hygiene, economic thinking, the moral system and in the recent years also via the practices of recycling. As objects become waste, attempts are no longer made to utilise them within the household. One fundamental structural characteristic of daily and durable consumer goods is the packaging. ”Paper and cardboard packaging intended only for destruction, and not reuse, became common in the early 1990s. Disposability was associated with the assumed cleanliness of foodstuffs on shop shelves. These days packaging is a part of nearly all consumer goods.” (Lehtonen 2006, p. 315) From commodity into waste ”With the exception of household waste, goods are disposed of quickly only in exceptional cases. Consumer goods are mostly everything but disposable and as objects with mass they create storage problems in homes. They require continuous classification by frequency of use [...] The cycle of production, consumption and disposal is rarely a direct line. In addition, different things, foodstuffs, clothing, electric appliances and pieces of furniture each have their own ways of becoming waste […] Disposal often happens in two stages. Before an object is found not worth keeping and “buried” completely, it is put somewhere to wait for the emotional attachment to become less strong.” (Lehtonen 2006, p. 315) Lehtonen’s viewpoints on the life span of goods offer many ideas for the Household Budget Survey. (See also Cooper 2005) 2.4 A framework of prerequisites of and barriers to change Research explaining the activities of households requires a framework with which the activities and the interpretation describing their change can be analysed. Sustainable development and sustainable consumption are concepts with broad contents. In order to understand them, a consumer should have varied knowledge starting from the life span of materials as understood in natural sciences and ending with an understanding of the
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structures of society. Secondly, the striving for sustainable consumption should feel significant in order for behaviour to change. In addition, the everyday operational environment should make the new kind of behaviour possible (Tanskanen 1995). The everyday life of households is also often a struggle from one day to the next in which conscious activities take second place even if readiness to change is strong at the level of attitudes. (Nurmela 1996, p. 65). The empirical module utilises the concepts introduced above in trying out the possibilities of measuring sustainable consumption statistically. 3. New perspectives on consumption When planning the Household Budget Survey 2006 in Finland and designing the questions for it several instances were consulted about information needs on sustainable development and consumption. On the basis of the consultations the Household Budget Survey came to include questions on e.g. the following topics: - sorting of waste and recycling at home, who burns recyclable materials - sorting and recycling of waste and burning waste at free-time residences - flea market purchases and sales - competitive procurement of electricity - users of eco-electricity - effect of the energy label on purchases of domestic appliances - recycling of old domestic appliances, age of refrigeration devices - ways of heating, additional heating, use of wood - is the free-time residence fit for winter habitation, use of a car to travel to the free-time residence - kilometres driven with a car. By linking this data to other data on consumption, new perspectives can be opened to households’ consumption and consumption styles can perhaps be defined from the viewpoint of eco-efficiency. Some of these issues are looked at in the following chapter. 3.1 Empirical experiments Some of the survey questions on sustainable consumption are analysed in this chapter. The examinations consist of simple cross-tabulations. They provide basic information e.g. on the extent of recycling in Finnish households and also offer researchers examples of new perspectives on the analysis of consumption. The results presented are based on the interview data of the Household Budget Survey 2006 (4,007 interviews). The results have been calculated with a combined non-response and weight coefficient which means that the results give a good picture of the activities of Finnish households as regards the questions under examination. As background variables the tables have (a) household size, (b) degree of urbanisation of the municipality of residence, (c) dwelling type, and (d) in some cases the age of the head of household. These variables allow for an analysis - albeit at a rough level - of the stages in the household’s life span, the structure of the society and the idea of spreading innovation. Recycling and sorting may well be interpreted as innovations whose proliferation can be examined with the framework of spreading innovations (diffusion theory). The type of dwelling is a useful factor illustrating functional structure.

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This empirical part is therefore the first test of the description of present small-scale environmental policy as defined by Massa. It describes i.a. what is the final result of the guilt experienced by Finnish residents with regard to sorting of waste and recycling when the requirements and barriers of sorting in the operational environment, which includes tight cleanliness and hygiene norms, are taken into account. After all, these factors define the transition from material to waste in many ways. The author hopes that the described frameworks and the empirical results together can offer the readers ideas when they consider how to move forward towards a more in-depth analysis of sustainable consumption with the help of the data of the Household Budget Survey. The compatibility of Finnish residents’ environmental attitudes and actions can be analysed with the interview survey commissioned by the Climate Change Communications Programme.(Climate Change Communications Programme 2007) 3.2 Recycling of waste All households generate waste. Waste may consist of packaging, peels and crusts of foodstuffs, perished foodstuffs, broken or unnecessary goods, appliances, machinery or materials as well as vegetable waste from the yard or garden. Some of the waste can be composted, some burnt in the fireplaces in dwellings, some sorted and deposited in the separate collection bins in private yards or a common separate collection station or perhaps taken to the flea market. In addition, many unnecessary commodities are stored to await further action. Volume of mixed waste We begin our examination from the most everyday factor, i.e. the volume of mixed waste. This was probed with the question “How many garbage bags of mixed waste does your household take to the waste collection bins per week?” Table 1. Average number of weekly garbage bags by size of household and level of urbanisation of municipality of residence in 2006 Size of Level of urbanisation of municipality of household residence Urban Semi-urban Rural Total 1 2.1 2.0 1.6 2.0 2 3.4 3.2 2.6 3.2 3 5.2 4.5 3.3 4.8 4 5.9 5.1 4.9 5.5 5+ 6.5 5.8 5.1 5.9 Total 3.4 3.3 2.8 3.3

The number of garbage bags increased with household size but nor linearly. Fewer garbage bags were filled pr person in families than in small households. We did not inquire about the size of the garbage bags. The higher the housing density the more waste was taken to mixed waste collection bins, regardless of size of household. Even when measured with the median, the number of weekly garbage bags was lower in rural municipalities than in other types of municipalities. This difference with urban living may be the result of many factors: less waste is generated and waste is recycled or burnt more often in rural than in urban areas. Relatively speaking the highest volume of mixed waste is generated in small households living in urban environments. In one-person households the highest number of garbage bags was filled by the households of 50 to 69-year-olds and the lowest in the households of over
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70-year-olds and under 30-year-olds regardless of whether they lived in detached houses or blocks of flats. It would seem that the volume of mixed waste could be developed into an indirect indicator of sustainable consumption. It could describe the realisation of sustainable consumption according to the stage in the household’s life span. Treatment of organic waste Households generate organic waste in the kitchen and in the yard or garden. The volume of organic waste generated in the kitchen may vary considerably by size of household and method of preparing food as well as by when foodstuffs are considered inedible. Households can be divided into three main types according to the available methods of treating organic waste: (a) separate sorting of organic waste does not make sense as it is not collected and composting is not possible, (b) separate sorting of organic waste makes sense as separate collection works, (c) separate sorting of organic waste make sense as composting is possible. The realisation of the guilt argument put forth by Massa could be studied in the separate sorting of organic waste, at least in theory, for options b and c. According to the Climate Change Communications Programme, 38 per cent of Finnish residents were very willing to compost organic waste in 2004, and the corresponding percentage was 47 in 2007. (Climate Change Communications Programme 2006, p.12) The interviews included the following questions on the treatment of organic waste: Is household leftover food and other organic waste collected in a separate container always, sometimes or never? Is leftover food taken to an organic waste container or composted or neither? If the household lived in a detached, semi-detached or terraced house, they were asked How much of the (a) leftover food and (b) yard or garden waste is composted? Nearly all, roughly one-half, less than one-half, none. Table 2. Proportion of households who always sort leftover food or other organic waste into a separate container by size of household and level of urbanisation in 2006, per cent Size of Level of urbanisation household Urban Semi-urban 1 52 47 2 50 47 3 47 37 4 42 39 5+ 46 41 Total 50 44 Rural 42 49 42 43 51 45 Total 49 50 44 42 47 48

Nearly one household in two (48%) always sorts their leftover food into a separate container. In addition, seven per cent sometimes sort leftover food in a separate container. It appears that the recovery of leftover food is not as common in family households as in small households. The proportion of households which recover organic kitchen waste is somewhat smaller in rural municipalities than in urban municipalities. This may have been influenced somewhat by the fact that some respondents living in detached houses may have interpreted the question “Is household leftover food and other organic waste collected in a separate container?” as referring to municipal collection of waste and not a container in the kitchen. It would appear that the strong readiness at the level of attitude expressed in the interview survey of the communication programme has been realised especially well for separate collection of organic kitchen waste. (Climate Change Communications Programme 2006, p.12)
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Another approach to assessing if the collection of household leftover food is at a good level would require information on how large a proportion of all households can participate in separate collection of organic waste or composting. On the basis of data on the collection of waste in Finnish municipalities it can be assessed that roughly 90 per cent of households living in blocks of flats have the opportunity to participate in the separate collection of organic waste (Kuntaliitto 2006). This assumption leads to the result that at least two-thirds of households living in blocks of flats which have the opportunity to participate in separate collection of leftover food actually participate in it. The more rural the municipality is, the higher the share of households that collect organic kitchen waste separately regardless of type of dwelling. Proximity of dwelling to nature may thus have an effect on experienced responsibility or the experience of guilt even at the level of actions. Table 3. Further processing of separately collected leftover food by level or urbanisation of those who collect organic kitchen waste in 2006, per cent Further processing Collection container Composting Neither Total Level of residence Urban 82 16 2 100 urbanisation Semi-urban 52 43 5 100 of municipality Rural 36 57 7 100 of

Total 69 27 4 100

Of the 1.3 million households which collected leftover food separately, roughly 70 per cent can take it to the municipal waste management’s collection container and a good one-fourth compost it. Four per cent deposited it at a refuse heap or gave it to domestic animals etc. In urban municipalities the separate collection of organic waste is the most common choice, whereas rural municipalities prefer composting. Twenty per cent of households living in detached houses and roughly one-half of households living in semi-detached houses take their waste to separate collection. Nearly all households living in terraced houses of blocks of flats do so. Composting of leftover food has the following link to the type of dwelling: 35 per cent of households living in detached houses, 17 per cent of those living in semi-detached houses, and 7 per cent of those living in terraced houses compost at least one-half of their leftover food. As least one-half of the yard and garden waste is composted by 73 per cent of households living in detached houses, by 44 per cent of those living in semi-detached houses, and by 35 per cent of those living in terraced houses. The composting of leftover food might be easy to promote among households that already compost yard and garden waste. However, the cold Finnish winter is not favourable to the composting of leftover food by individual real estate. As one-half of the Finnish households have adopted the recycling of organic waste as their norm, it can be viewed as an indirect indicator of a favourable attitude towards sustainable consumption. The critical factor is the recycling system provided by the society; the ease of the post-sorting recycling system provided to households. A time series would enable the monitoring of the effect of the recycling system on households’ actions. The following step in examining the prerequisites of sustainable consumption would be to investigate, with the
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interviews of the Household Budget Survey, for example, how suitable the kitchen set-up is for separate collection of different kinds of waste. How common is the separate collection of other kinds of waste? In addition to leftover food, households generate many other kinds of waste, whose sorting and recycling was examined in the interviews. The recovery of waste is more effortless to households in semi-urban areas than in sparsely populated areas, as real estate in semi-urban areas have their own recycling stations or such stations are otherwise near by. As regards burnable waste, burning is an alternative to recycling in detached houses. Finland has a long tradition of collecting old newspapers and magazines as well as deposit bottles. As late as in the 1960s and 1970s joint collections were used to finance e.g. purchases of televisions to schools. Co-ordinated rag collections were also organised until the 1970s, but they disappeared as the manufacture of roofing felt decreased. 4-H clubs continue to collect plastic waste from farms. In Finland this culture of scarcity has become a mode of action which exists even today and in which sorting is appreciated and is the norm. Previously it often generated immediate financial gain. These days, immediate financial gain is available only from deposit bottles and cans. In the interviews of the Climate Change Communications Programme, 64 per cent of Finnish residents were very willing to sort and recycle waste and 27 per cent were fairly willing. According to the survey, the willingness has grown clearly from the year 2004 (Climate Change Communications Programme 2007, p.12). The recycling of different kinds of waste was examined with the following questions: Does your household recycle the following wastes regularly, occasionally, not at all, or there is no such waste? - newspapers and magazines - packaging cardboard - glass containers (excl. deposit bottles) - metal containers and other metal waste (excl. deposit cans) - milk, juice etc. cartons - hazardous waste to a specific collection station Table 4. The proportion of households regularly recycling some kinds of waste by level or urbanisation in 2006 of those who generate the type of waste in question, per cent Level of residence Urban Newspapers and magazines 93 Packaging cardboard 71 Glass containers* 70 Metal containers* 52 Milk etc. cartons 45 Hazardous waste 82 * Excluding deposit bottles and cans Waste type urbanisation of Semi-urban 84 51 75 62 26 87 municipality of Rural 76 37 74 62 15 87 Total 89 61 72 56 36 84

According to Table 4, the readiness of Finnish residents at the level of attitude to collect different types of waste separately has been realised quite well. The rate of recovery of waste seems to be linked to the accessibility of collection containers or collection stations. The recycling of newspapers and magazines was very common. There is still room for improvement at least in the recycling of milk etc. cartons. The real estate specific collection
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of cardboard and cartons launched in 2006 should gradually increase recycling of these materials. Recycling of packaging cardboard is already fairly common in urban areas. As regards milk and juice cartons, the hygiene norms of the households and effort required may form barriers to recycling. Collected cartons may cause odour nuisance if they are not rinsed and dried. A smaller share of households recycled glass containers and metal waste in urban municipalities than in semi-urban or rural municipalities even though the accessibility of collection containers should be better in cities than elsewhere. The level of recycling of hazardous wastes can be regarded as good. An examination by type of dwelling revealed that households living in blocks of flats (and terraced houses) recycle the wastes which are collected separately by the real estate more often than others. As many as 95 per cent of households living in blocks of flats regularly take newspapers and magazines to recycling. Households living in detached houses are more active than others in recycling glass and metal as well as hazardous waste. A further study could look into whether the difference is explained by different attitudes towards recycling or the better storage spaces for slowly accumulating waste in detached houses than elsewhere. The recycling level of burnable waste in detached houses is probably lowered by the burning of waste. The examination by size of household showed that a systematically larger share of the 1–2 person households recycled wastes listed in Table 4 than of the family households. This result is interesting, as family households are pioneers in adopting e.g. new information or communication technology when compared with smaller households. This difference would open up many possibilities of interesting further study into the how and if various activities become more widespread. Separate collection of waste seems to increase in small households as the head of household grows older, even if dwelling type is standardised. Young households are roughly as active as older households only in the recycling of packaging cardboard and cartons. Perhaps such a new procedure is adopted more readily in young households than in older households which already have established recycling routines. Corresponding results on the strength of routines have been seen in examinations of e.g. the adoption of new mobile phones (Nurmela 2001). Burning as a waste processing method in households Households make decisions on burning waste in a contradictory situation. On the one hand burning generates heat (and less waste), but on the other it generates PAH compounds and other compounds detrimental to health, which pose a risk to the health of the members of the household as well as the neighbours. The dangerousness is increased by impurities in the burnable waste and low burning temperatures. Roughly 30 per cent of households in Finland (740,000) have a fireplace in their dwelling either as the primary source of heating or as a supplementary source of heating. These households were asked about the burning of waste. Which of the following categories applies to the burning of waste in your oven or in another fireplace in your dwelling? Nearly all, roughly one-half, less than one-half, none. - newspapers and magazines - packaging and wrapping paper - milk and other cartons - wood waste (construction debris, branches etc.) - plastics.

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Roughly a quarter did not burn any type of waste, even if the dwelling had a fireplace in use. The majority of newspapers and magazines was burnt only by every fourth household (with a fireplace). Only one in ten household burnt a significant amount of plastic, whereas the burning of cartons and waste wood was common. Burning waste in the fireplace of the dwelling was clearly more common in rural than in urban areas. One key factor explaining this difference is probably that the fireplace is more often the primary source of heating in rural than in urban areas. The accessibility of collection stations may also be a contributing factor. The disadvantage to neighbours caused by the burning of waste is probably smaller in rural areas than in cities. All in all the burning of waste by Finnish households seems to be quite a rational alternative to separate collection of waste also from the viewpoint of environmental effects. This is proven by e.g. the small volumes of plastic waste burned. Combined variables were constructed for the recycling and burning of newspapers and cartons. According to them, as much as 92 per cent of all newspapers and 51 per cent of milk etc. cartons were recycled or burnt. Table 5. The proportion of households burning at least one-half of certain types of waste by level of urbanisation in 2006 of households with a fireplace, per cent Waste type Level of urbanisation of municipality of residence Urban Semi-urban Rural Total Newspapers and magazines 13 25 30 23 Packaging and wrapping paper 40 59 66 56 Milk etc. cartons 51 64 76 64 Waste wood 61 68 76 69 Plastics 6 13 19 12 3.3 Unnecessary to necessary, recycling goods at flea markets Goods end up at flea markets when they have outlived their usefulness to the owner or when the owner donates them to charity. Trading goods at flea markets is an established method of recycling goods. Goods are sold on the owners own account, or often also for charitable purposes on the account of a school class, sports team etc. Especially in the early 1990s also (semi)professional permanent flea markets where goods were left to be sold were established. Magazines specialising in flea market trade were also a phenomenon of the 1990s, as were the sale and auction sites on the Internet. It can be stated that flea markets have received the status of an established form of trade, and their selection of goods has become more varied at the same time. A further indication of this is that according to the survey of the Climate Change Communications Programme, 36 per cent of Finnish residents think that the statement “I recycle unnecessary goods” describes them very well and 31 per cent think the statement describes them fairly well (Climate Change Communications Programme 2006, p. 18). The interview included the following questions on flea markets: (a) Have you sold used goods or clothing at flea markets, to second hand shops or directly to other households during the past 3 months? (b) How much money in total did you earn in exchange for the goods and clothing you sold? (c) Did you use the Internet flea market sites to sell goods? (d) Have you bought second hand goods or clothing during the past 3 months? (e) How much money in total did you spend on second hand goods? (f) Did you buy second hand goods on the Internet?
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Flea markets are fairly popular. In 2006 during the three months preceding the interview, 8 per cent of the households (roughly 200,000) had sold goods at flea markets and 24 per cent (roughly 600,000) households had bought goods at flea markets. There were also three households buying at flea markets per each household selling at flea markets. Both buying and selling increased clearly as the household grew in size. As children grow, clothing, toys and other children’s articles move quickly to the category of unnecessary goods and can be sold at e.g. flea markets. From the buyer’s viewpoint precisely children’s clothing are probably a suitable object to buy, as they become too small before they are worn out and so are often nearly as good as new. Table 6. Proportion of households that sold or bought at flea markets during the three month period in 2006, per cent Size of Total household sold 1 4 2 9 3 11 4 17 5+ 13 Total 8 Level of urbanisation of municipality of residence Urban Semi-urban Rural bought sold bought sold bought sold bought 21 4 22 4 20 2 15 24 9 24 9 28 7 20 34 14 35 9 30 8 31 38 16 38 18 33 16 44 40 15 35 13 42 10 45 26 9 26 9 27 6 25

Going to the flea market showed only minor differences by the level of urbanisation of the municipality of residence, but Table 6 can be used to build a research hypothesis according to which flea markets in cities and population centres offer better trading possibilities also for one or two person households than flea markets in rural areas. The younger one- or twoperson households sold goods at flea markets more often than the older ones, but slightly unexpectedly the younger than 30-year olds and the 60–69-year olds living in one-person households bought goods at flea markets more often than the middle-aged persons. Buying at flea markets became less common for two-person households as they got older. The average sales income of persons who sold goods at flea markets during the last three months was approximately EUR 145. As the share of such households was 8 per cent, we can evaluate that the households received during the three months roughly EUR 29 million of sales income, which means a good EUR 115 million per year. On the basis of the responses we cannot know if the sums were given as gross sums, without deducting the rent for the table etc expenses, or as net sums. Still, taking the character of flea market selling into account, the responses are more likely to be net than gross sums. Correspondingly, the average estimate of those who bought at flea markets of the sum spent on purchases over the three month period was roughly EUR 68. When every fourth household had bought goods from flea markets, the total spending of households on flea market purchases over three months was EUR 43 million, which means roughly EUR 173 million per year. The difference in households’ flea market purchases and sales income amounts to EUR 60 million annually. This also gives a rough picture of the profit the organisers of flea markets make from table rents and the income from voluntary work flea market sales.

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The data of the Household Budget Survey allows also for a significantly more accurate description of the users of flea markets by e.g. the income of the household, stage of life or use of information technology, or for the combining of the visits to flea markets to other consumption or the sorting of waste. 3.4. Households’ purchases of refrigerators and washing machines and the recycling of old machines The energy label has been in use for roughly 10 years. It first appeared in refrigeration equipment and then spread into washing machines, electric lamps, stoves etc. The label has had a fairly long time to become well known. The energy efficiency of the equipment makes a significant difference to a household’s annual electricity consumption. Therefore the purchase decision is an important one and has long-term effects. As energy efficiency, as a rule, makes the equipment more expensive, the decision to invest in one requires careful consideration of all relevant points. Households were asked if the energy label or energy efficiency in general influenced their decision to invest in refrigeration equipment or washing machines. According to the interviews of the Climate Change Communications Programme, 18 per cent of households thought the statement ”I choose products with an environment label or an eco label (energy efficient, class A in the energy label)” described them very well and 26 per cent thought the statement described them fairly well. Thirty-six per cent of Finnish residents stated that they were very prepared to change their domestic appliances to equipment which consume less and 38 per cent stated they were fairly prepared to do so. This opinion has strengthened significantly from the year 2004. (Climate Change Communications Programme 2007, p.12 and 18) Table 7. The significance of an appliance’s energy label, or energy efficiency, in the selection process by strength of influence in purchase situation in 2006, per cent Significance strong somewhat no significance don’t know Total refrigerator 37 34 29 0 100% refrigerator freezer -freezer 32 32 33 31 32 34 4 2 100% 100% washing machine 34 28 35 2 100% dishwasher 42 30 27 1 100% Total 35 31 32 2 100%

According to Table 7, the attitudes and the estimated significance of the energy label when buying an appliance correspond quite well. Energy efficiency had been significant in 66 percent of all purchases, on average. For some reason the energy label was most significant in the purchases of dishwashers. An explanation might be that a notable share of these purchases was made up of first purchases (Table 8). It may be that when replacing an old appliance with a new one the consideration is not as thorough as with the first purchase. In addition, buyers may often be in a rush to find a replacement for an old and broken appliance e.g. a freezer. Households which stated that energy efficiency had a strong significance in their decision to buy appliances had paid, on average, clearly more (roughly 20 to 40 per cent) for their appliance than households which stated it had no significance. This applies to all the appliances listed in Table 7. The differences in average prices ranged from EUR 70 to EUR 200, depending on the appliance. This is, then, a significant and conscious financial choice concerning energy savings, or alternatively the energy efficient appliances fulfilled the
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buyers’ design wishes better than the models that are less energy efficient. The households that reckoned energy efficiency to have been fairly significant in their selection of appliance also paid nearly as much as the former group. The energy label would seem to have succeeded in converting the readiness to save energy into concrete action. Table 8 describes the various features of product life spans. Roughly 20 per cent of refrigerators and freezers remain in use either at home, at the free-time residence or in another household. Over one-half of used appliances end up in the store that sold the appliance or at a recycling station.´ Table 8. Recycling of the appliance to be replaced in households which had bought a new refrigeration appliance or washing machine by appliance in 2006, per cent What was done with the old refrigerator appliance no previous appliance 13 store which sold the 20 appliance took in the old one remained in use in own 11 household was taken to the free-time 12 residence or into another household remained in own household 14 without use was taken to recycling 17 station something else 13 don’t know 1 total % 100 3.5. Households’ use of eco-electricity The use of eco-electricity requires a willingness to pay more than usual for electricity. Such willingness is dependent on attitudes, which in turn are influenced by many factors - from the consequences of global warming to opposing nuclear power or images of less favourable living conditions for one’s own children. According to the interviews of the Climate Change Communications Programme, roughly 15 per cent of Finnish residents would be very willing to buy eco-electricity (Climate Change Communications Programme 2007, p. 13). Unlike many of the attitudes discussed earlier, this attitude has not yet translated into practice, since only 2.5 per cent, or 60,000, of households use eco-electricity. Only a minute share of Finnish households has decided to use environmentally friendly electricity. Perhaps the delay caused by routine is strong especially for such bulk products. In addition, the use of ecoelectricity means an increase in the annual electricity bill, whereas the buyer of an energy efficient appliance can safely look forward to a decrease in the electricity bill. The environmentally positive attitudes of the users of eco-electricity for also other activities would be an interesting topic for further research. At least they had notably often purchased energy efficient appliances. 3.6 Motoring
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refrigerator- freezer freezer 11 29 36 20 5 9 6 23 8 2 100 8 12 8 16 5 2 100

washing dishwasher all machine 25 39 25 28 16 25 2 12 6 16 8 2 100 0 10 6 22 7 0 100 4 11 7 19 8 2 100

Proceedings of the Nordic Consumer Policy Research Conference 2007

A car is a necessary mode of transport for many, but it is also a status symbol which belongs to the “must haves” of certain stages in life (Nurmela 1996, pp. 159–173). Motoring enables the scattering of the structure of society which increases both the infrastructure expenditure and costs of transport (Perrels et al. 2006). The data of the Household Budget Survey are a good context for an examination of the basic characteristics of motoring. According to the Climate Change Communications Programme research, the environmental hazards of motoring are acknowledged and people are very ready to make changes in their own lives (Climate Change Communications Programme 2007, pp. 11–13). Table 10. Access to a car (at least one)* by size of household and level of urbanisation of municipality of residence in 2006, per cent Size of household Level of urbanisation of municipality of residence Total Urban Semi-urban Rural municipality municipality municipality 1 45 40 59 54 2 86 82 92 92 3 90 85 98 98 4 97 95 98 99 5 98 98 99 99 Total 72 66 83 80 * passenger car, van or mobile home

Roughly 70 per cent of households had at least one car. Currently a significant proportion of only one-person households reckon they can manage without a car. Women living alone have few cars. Every third two-person household with access to a car has at least two cars. Households with four or more persons already come close to an average of two cars. Level of urbanisation has a clear effect on the access to a car. More households manage without a car more often in urban municipalities than in other types of municipalities. Table 11. Average kilometres driven with the cars a household has access to during 12 months by size of household and level or urbanisation in 2006 Size of household total 1 2 3 4 5 Total 14,300 19,700 25,300 27,100 30,200 21,000 Level of urbanisation Urban Semi-urban municipality municipality 13,300 15,000 17,900 20,900 22,900 29,500 24,300 34,400 23,400 37,100 18,700 24,000 Rural municipality 16,500 23,900 27,900 28,100 36,900 24,800

As the share of households that use a car has grown in households of all sizes, the average number kilometres a household drives per year has fallen by roughly one-fifth from 1990 to 2007 (Nurmela 1990, p. 47). The annual estimated kilometres driven by a household (Table 11) describe how family households living in the municipalities surrounding cities drive the most. This is most probably explained by commuting. A family living in a spacious detached house and commuting to work over long distances is the direct opposite of a retired man living alone in Punavuori (in central Helsinki), at least when measuring the ecological
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footprint left by transport and housing (Nurmela 1996). The guilt effect of sustainable consumption has not reached motoring nearly as comprehensively as the sorting and recycling of waste. One reason for this are probably the cultural meanings attached to motoring especially by men. Secondly, the modern scattering of the structure of the society requires the use of a car (Perrels et al 2006). If motoring is to be reduced, the effect of the society’s environmental policy on a household’s alternative modes of action should probably be relatively much stronger for motoring than recycling of waste. 4. Conclusions Limited empirical analyses preceding the interview questions of the Finnish Household Budget Survey 2006 have shown that the data of the Household Budget Survey can answer the need for monitoring the development of sustainable consumption. The data can be used to locate potential for savings and rationalisation even at a relatively accurate level, at least for the sorting of waste. Possibilities also seem to exist for assessing the effects of measures. Repeating the same questions in the interviews of following surveys would enable the assessment of the effects of possible measures taken and the associated changes in behaviour from the viewpoint of sustainable consumption. The concepts of guilt and product life spans and packaging introduced in the description of the frameworks applied open up new ways of looking at and understanding consumption. An awareness of the consequences of one’s actions is essential when striving to achieve change. This purpose is served by various certificates such as the fair trade labels which function as prompters for making a conscious choice. Different indicators of eco-efficiency have a similar effect (Schmidt-Bleek 2000, Hoffrén 2007 and 2001). New technology opens up possibilities of getting information and so reduces the guilt burden by making conscious choices. The "Consumer Gadget" project, for example, utilises the barcode as a link to various kinds of background information on the Internet. ”The Consumer Gadget is a browser application that allows consumers to check the ethical background of any consumer product. Consumer Gadget can fetch the ethical information via EAN barcodes”. (Consumer Gadget 2007) Putting the focus on ecologically sustainable consumption and eco-efficiency implies a fundamental change of viewpoint. The research will then concentrate on material and energy flows. In such an examination, households’ and peoples consumption and the related material flows are just one part of the process from raw materials to discarded waste (Hukkinen 1994, Takase et al. 2005). Short-term benefits of consumption become secondary when compared with the total effects over the long term. Seen from this viewpoint, the present day consumer can not be the king, but is instead more like a soldier serving a greater purpose. On the basis of this examination it can be stated that the Household Budget Survey might serve as an indicator of sustainable consumption as regards the final outcomes of households’ actions. The Household Budget Survey includes also much other information which can be used for this purpose. It is the only regular data collection in which the whole chain of consumption is measured. Converting euros into units of material would give extra input into the analysis of sustainable consumption (Cf. Nurmela 1996, Tukker 2005). The empirical analysis confirmed for its part the results of studies conducted since the 1980s on environmental attitudes etc. (e.g. Uusitalo 1986). Finnish residents are not indifferent
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about the environmental effects of their actions. Attitudes and actions in 2006 are concordant for many of the phenomena examined. The preconditions for environmentally friendly behaviour have also improved at least as regards the recycling and sorting of waste. Still, progress has not been made towards sustainable consumption in all of the actions a household engages in, as illustrated by the analyses of motoring and eco-electricity. The challenge of environmental policy is to identify new means of supporting the conversion of households’ positive attitudes more often to action in more numerous sectors of consumption. References: Climate Chance Communications Programme (2007) : (http://www.ilmastonmuutos.info/fi/cfmldocs/index.cfm?ID=1272) (Partly available in English) Consumer Gadget (2007): http://consumergadget.net Cooper Tim (2005): Slower Consumption. Reflections on Product Life Span and ”Throwaway Society”. Journal of Industrial Ecology. Volume 9. Number 1-2, pp. 51-67 Eräranta Kirsi and Moisander Johanna (2006). Miten kuluttajaa hallitaan markkinoilla ympäristöpoliittisena toimijana. In Massa Ilmo and Ahonen Sanna (Eds.) (2006): Arkielämän ympäristöpolitiikka. Gaudeamus. Helsinki 2006 (In Finnish only) Hoffrén Jukka (2007): Suomen ekotehokkuus kasvaa liian hitaasti. ”Tieto ja trendit” periodical, pp. 79-83. Statistics Finland (in Finnish only) Hoffrén Jukka (2001): Measuring the eco-efficiency of welfare generation in a national economy. The case of Finland. Statistics Finland, Studies 233. Helsinki Hukkinen Janne (1994): Kestävän jätehuollon institutionaaliset edellytykset Suomessa. In Kestävän kehityksen edellytykset Suomessa, Imatran Voima OY 60th anniversary publication (Eds. Ilmari Kurki-Suonio and Matti Heikkilä. Tammi, Helsinki (In Finnish only) Hyvönen, Kaarina - Juntto, Anneli - Laaksonen, Pirjo - Timonen, Päivi (Eds.) (2000) Hyvää elämää. 90 vuotta suomalaista kuluttajatutkimusta. National Consumer Research Centre and Statistics Finland (In Finnish only) KULTU Committee (2005): Getting more and better from less - Proposal for promotion of sustainable consumption and production Kuntaliitto (2006): Tietoja kuntien jätehuollosta 2006, kysely 2006 http://hosted.kuntaliitto.fi/intra/julkaisut/pdf/p061207124950P.pdf (In Finnish and Swedish ohly) Lehtonen Turo-Kimmo (2006): Tavaroiden kanssa, Kulutustutkimus ja materiaalisuus. Sosiologia 4/2006 p. 306-318 (In Finnish only) Massa Ilmo (2006): Perheen elämäntavan muutos ja arjen ympäristöpolitiikka. In Massa Ilmo and Ahonen Sanna (Eds.) (2006): Arkielämän ympäristöpolitiikka. Gaudeamus. Helsinki 2006 (In Finnish only) Massa Ilmo and Ahonen Sanna (Eds.) (2006): Arkielämän ympäristöpolitiikka. Gaudeamus. Helsinki 2006 (In Finnish only) Massa Ilmo and Ahonen Sanna (2006): Mitä on arkielämän ympäristöpolitiikka. In Massa Ilmo and Ahonen Sanna (Eds.) (2006): Arkielämän ympäristöpolitiikka. Gaudeamus. Helsinki 2006 (In Finnish only) Melasniemi-Uutela Heidi (2000): Kuluttajan ristiriitainen näkökulma ilmastonmuutokseen ja energiansäästämiseen. In Hyvönen, Kaarina - Juntto, Anneli - Laaksonen, Pirjo - Timonen, Päivi (Eds.) (2000) Hyvää elämää. 90 vuotta suomalaista kuluttajatutkimusta. National Consumer Research Centre and Statistics Finland (In Finnish only)

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Nurmela Juha (1990): Tietoja suomalaisten energiamielipiteistä ja energiankäytöstä. Ministry of Trade and Industry, Eergy Department, Series D188. Helsinki (In Finnish only) Nurmela Juha (1996): Kotitaloudet ja energia vuonna 2015. Tutkimus kotitalouksien rakennemuutoksien vaikutuksesta energiankulutukseen. Statistics Finland, Studies 216. Edita Helsinki 1996 (In Finnish only) Nurmela Juha (2001): Kolme vuotta tietoyhteiskunnassa, Pitkittäistutkimus uuden tieto- ja viestintätekniikan käytöstä. Statistics Finland, Reviews 2001/2 (In Finnish only) Perrels Adriaan - Ahlqvist Kirsti - Heiskanen Eva - Lahti Pekka (2006): Kestävän kulutuksen mahdollisuudet ekotehokkaassa ympäristössä. VATT Research Reports 120. (In Finnish only) Schmidt-Bleek (2000): Luonnon uusi laskuoppi, Ekotehokkuuden mittari MIPS (Edited and translated into Finnish by Michael Lettenmeier). Tammi. Helsinki (Original title in German: Wieviel Umwelt braucht der Mensch? MIPS – das mass für ökologisches Wirtschaften (1994).) Suomen kestävän kehityksen toimikunta (Finnish National Commission on Sustainable Development (FNCSD) (2006 ): Kohti kestäviä valintoja; Kansallisesti ja globaalisti kestävä Suomi. Kansallinen kestävän kehityksen strategia. Prime Minister’s Office Publications 5/2006. (In Finnish only) Takase - Kondo - Washizu (2005): An Analysis of Sustainable Consumpiotn by the Waste Input-output Model. Journal of Industrial Ecology. Volume 9, Number 1-2, pp. 201-219 Tanskanen Eero (1995): Ympäristö 1994. Kulutus, tieto, asenteet ja ympäristöpolitiikka. Statistics Finland memorandum 1995:6 (In Finnish only) Tilastokeskus (Statistics Finland) (2005): Tilastokeskuksen lausunto ehdotuksesta Suomen kansalliseksi ohjelmaksi kestävän kulutuksen ja tuotannon edistämiseksi (”Vähemmästä enemmän ja paremmin”) (KULTU-ohjelma) diarionro TK01-943-05, 25.8.2005 (In Finnish only) Tukker Arnold (2005): The Relevance of Sustainable Consumption Policies for Realising Decoupling. Paper for ERSCP 2005, 5-7 October, Antwerpen, Belgium Uusitalo Liisa (1986): Suomalaiset ja ympäristö. Tutkimustaloudellisen käyttäytymisen rationaalisuudesta. Acta Academiae Oeconomicae Helsingiensis. Series A:49. Helsinki (In Finnish only)

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